Empowering Our Youth to Strengthen Our Democracy

2023 No. 1

Dear Debbie,

With the highly successful summer and fall 2022 sessions behind us and no new interns joining us until this September, you may be wondering what’s happening with Students for Justice right now. The answer is… A LOT! We are busy developing a strategic plan to ensure the organization’s future strength and growth while raising the necessary funds to support it. We are not writing to ask you for another donation today (although we never say no to a gift!). Instead, we are asking you to introduce us to your friends by hosting a virtual house party.

Mainly I volunteered to host a house party out of my huge respect for Students for Justice as a project. But also I wanted to let my friends know about my commitment to this project and to invite them into it.  My virtual house party was a success in that a large number of people attended and contributed money. In addition, two people whom I invited subsequently signed up to host their own house parties.– Don Shewey

We have been holding virtual house parties (VHPs) – nearly 60 of them to date -- to raise funds for SFJ since the spring of 2021. You may have first learned about us by attending one of our parties. Funds raised through these gatherings allowed us to cover the full cost of stipends for all 120 of our interns in 2022. We remain committed to the model of providing paid internships to allow low-income college students to participate in our program. and plan to continue recruiting our future interns primarily from historically Black colleges and universities in the South.

My guests were hugely impressed by the depth, breadth, and substance of the program. Most all of them donated. Some in turn have introduced SFJ to others in their networks. It’s an effective model, and rewarding! – Sherri Neuwirth

What is a VHP?

We hold our virtual house parties on Zoom, allowing guests to attend from all time zones. We make a 40-minute presentation and take questions for 20 minutes. We make three requests of our audience – we ask them to donate if they can, to introduce us to people they know on the boards or staffs of foundations, and to consider hosting their own virtual house party.  

I've been a mentor with Students for Justice since its inception. I hosted a virtual house party to introduce SFJ to my friends and help them understand the important work this internship is doing. I also wanted to let them know that in order for this college internship program to continue, donations are needed. – Martha Tirk

Want to host a VHP?

Please consider hosting or co-hosting a one-hour virtual house party sometime this spring. We make the process extremely simple! And, the parties are fun and inspiring! All you need to do is select a date and invite your guests with an email invitation that we will provide. Debbie Wachspress, our development director, will help you to generate your guest list. (She is a wizard at helping people with this!) We take care of everything else. 

I first heard Claire & Sandy on Robert Hubbell's podcast, then attended a virtual house party. Both experiences left me inspired and compelled to be involved. Claire and Sandy have developed a program with profound impact; engaging young people in our democracy and providing an opportunity for all involved to positively effect voter registration and turnout far beyond what any of us might accomplish individually. The process of hosting a virtual house party was so easy. What a simple and rewarding experience!  – Jackie Johnson
Our goal is to have at least 10 people at each party.  Many people choose to co-host with a friend or allow us to set them up with a co-host.  
 "It was very easy. I was paired with another host and we both invited those we thought would be interested. We had a great turnout from each of our contacts. We were provided with an invitation template which we were able to modify/personalize, and then we just needed to track the responses. The SFJ team took care of everything else." – Sherri Neuwirth

Please reply to this email if you want to learn more and we will introduce you to Debbie Wachspress, who will answer any questions you may have. If you decide to host a party, she will HOLD YOUR HAND EACH STEP OF THE WAY.  

Thank you for all you do to support Students for Justice. We could not do any of this without you!

With hope for our democracy,
Claire Ullman & Sandra Radoff
Help us find opportunities for our former interns!
We work hard to make Students for Justice a career stepping stone for our interns. One of the ways we do this is by sharing job and internship opportunities with our program alumni. If you know of an opportunity for current college students or recent graduates, in any field, please email us to let us know about it so we can share it with our intern community. You might even consider having one of our former interns work for you this summer!
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